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Post Grad

Post Grad is a seriously unfocused movie with many a problem, from its questionable target audience (why is a movie about a girl going into the work force targeted at teens?) to its stupid side plots to its horrendous dialogue. This is an unsalvageable movie, devoid of meaning, relevance, wit, or heart. It may not rank among the worst 2009 has to offer (which exhibits the poor quality of films this year), but it's very much inept and deserves to flop at the box office and fade into oblivion, a fate easily bestowed upon dreck like this.

The film begins with Ryden (Alexis Bledel) vlogging (video blogging--how hip) to the audience about her upcoming graduation and how she has looked forward to this moment her entire life. Her final goal after that eventful day is to land a job at a major publishing company, a dream she has had as long as she can remember. Flash forward a few weeks and Ryden optimistically arrives for her interview, assuming she's going in with one foot through the door, but she ends up losing the job to the valedictorian of her college. Depressed, she seeks refuge in the form of best friend Adam (Zach Gilford), who loves her, though she is too blind to see it (which is totally not derivative of other movies). Through the help of her parents (played by Michael Keaton and Jane Lynch), Ryden sets off to find another job, but ends up facing more rejections than she can handle.

From the moment Adam pops onscreen (singing a song he wrote for Ryden, no less) it's painfully apparent that the two will end up together. That's not a spoiler because it's not like the movie tries to hide it. In fact, every plot turn comes straight out of Screenwriting 101, with a story so predictable you'll be able to foresee each scene before they happen.

Post Grad is poorly written, plain and simple. It's filled with cutesy, gag inducing tripe that plays directly towards teenage girls who think schmaltzy love shown in movies like this is parallel to how relationships play out in real life, though I doubt in actuality anybody has ever had a textbook film romance. The dialogue is also consistently bad. It's so homogeneous from scene to scene that you tend to forget characters are even talking, but then, seemingly out of the blue, comes some of the most absurd, nonsensical dialogue exchanges you're likely to ever hear. In one scene, Adam gives Ryden an Eskimo Pie, explaining that one bite of its lush sweetness can cure any and all emotional ailments. So she chomps a piece off the corner and says, "It's like God's giving birth in my mouth." Huh? What does that even mean?

Naturally, the performances are bad, especially from Keaton who overacts tremendously, despite providing the only laughs in this entire wasteland of mediocrity, but the problem here is missed opportunities. There's a good movie in this premise--a graduating college senior struggles to find a job--especially in the troubled times we live in now. Our crumbling economy is forcing companies to lay people off and it's making it increasingly harder for college graduates to find jobs, now competing not only with other graduates, but also people who have lost their old jobs and are looking for new ones. There's a story somewhere in this idea that really focuses on the hardships graduating seniors must endure in the real world, but this simply isn't it.

Instead, the majority of its time is concentrated on Ryden's romantic relationships, the aforementioned dumb-girl-can't-see-the-awesome-guy-right-in-front-of-her relationship, and her budding interest in her 34 year old neighbor who, through their time together, puts her life into perspective and allows her to see how special Adam is. Yawn. Potential exists in the narrative core of economic hardship, but by going down the typical romance route, Post Grad avoids any semblance of relevance in today's world.

Post Grad is only an hour and 29 minutes long (including credits) and it still doesn't have enough material to sustain that length, a sad prospect indeed. So to fill the holes, it establishes half-baked side plots inconsequential to the main story. For instance, Ryden's father invests in a number of belt buckles and hopes to sell them for a profit. It turns out that the person he bought them from was a thief and stole them from the legitimate seller. Through a strange turn of events, he is thrown in jail. Despite its contrivance, one can only hope that this would provide for, at the very least, a dramatic turn because God knows this movie needed one, but no. He stays in jail for one night, his family bails him out and the flick moves on without another word of these events. This side plot (along with others) did nothing but pad the length of an already struggling feature.

The real shame is that Alexis Bledel is cute and appealing as a person, but the material in this stinking cesspool of nothingness doesn't compliment her natural charms and she ends up coming off as annoying and angst ridden, despite having a damn good life. Her family loves her, she has a great guy who thinks the world of her and she's young, with plenty of opportunities to look forward to in the future. But alas, she couldn't get the job she had initially hoped for. Boo hoo. Unrealistically, everything ends up working out for her in the end, though she quickly has a revelation and decides that love is more important than a well paying job, a decision that would undoubtedly screw people over in the real world, but is played as courageous and honorable here.

I won't go so far as to say that Post Grad had "the makings of a good film" because it didn't. But the idea of a student struggling to adapt in the workplace, unable to find a good job because of our poor economy, would make a genuinely riveting movie if placed in more competent hands, and it's socially relevant to boot. As it stands, however, Post Grad is disappointingly nothing more than an extended piece of miscues and stumbles that fails to competently carry out even the most trivial of tasks.

Post Grad receives 1/5

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